· Features

Future leader: Lauren Turner, senior HR advisor, British Library

HR magazine speaks to the future leaders of the industry to discover what makes them tick

I have been extremely fortunate in having some great leaders, inside HR and out, from whom I have learnt a great deal in how to immerse myself in all aspects of an organisation and my work. More recently I have focused on diversity and inclusion roles which, after experiencing all aspects of HR, is my passion. 

What the leaders of tomorrow think:

Lisa Faulkner, HR business partner, Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Sarah Cousins, organisational change manager, British Heart Foundation

Toby Lott, regional people manager, PKF-Francis Clark

As we hopefully draw to the end of the pandemic at some point, HR will be able to focus on transformational change rather than being reactive. Last year we also saw the rising voice against racial injustice through the Black Lives Matter movement across the UK and worldwide. It is important that we all commit to driving the change needed to become anti-racist organisations.

The role of HR is to provide expertise, knowledge and to progress with people policies to support our people. While HR is often tasked with leading on D&I strategy, everyone is accountable and responsible for making the change. Only when we have truly representative boards, and senior leadership teams, will we see progress.

The pandemic has flipped so many assumptions and norms upside down and made us all re-evaluate what truly matters to us. We need to ensure we don’t revert to old practices and that we provide a flexible working environment in terms of smarter working or a hybrid approach.

I think we will still be tackling climate change when I retire. HR, along with a lot of industries, is not progressing in this area as quickly as it should. The UK is aiming to have cut almost all of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To make this a possibility I believe HR has to be central to this. HR are change makers, we shape cultures and behaviours and will be making strategic people decisions that directly affect their companies’ climate response.

I want the work I do to make a difference for people who are under-represented and suffer discrimination. I struggled to be myself as an out lesbian in the workplace early in my career and in making my voice heard as a working-class woman. HR has a great platform and seat at the table to drive culture change.


This piece appears in the May/June 2021 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk.

If you would like to be featured in our future leader column please get in touch.